No Mandatory Deportation for Minor Pot Busts Anymore

Possession of small amounts not a federal felony: supreme court
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2013 1:35 AM CDT
Updated Apr 24, 2013 5:49 AM CDT
Passing one of these around is no longer an automatic one-way ticket out of the US.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(Newser) – The federal government should stop kicking people out of the country with no chance of appeal for possessing tiny quantities of marijuana, the Supreme Court has decided. The justices ruled 5-2 that those whose crime is only "social sharing of a small amount of marijuana" should no longer be subject to mandatory deportation for "illicit trafficking in a controlled substance," the Washington Post reports.

The court ruled in favor of Adrian Moncrieffe, a legal immigrant from Jamaica who came to the US with his family when he was three years old. He was deported after police found enough marijuana in his car for two or three joints during a routine traffic stop, and a judge decided that the charge of "possession with intent to distribute" amounted to a federal felony. Moncrieffe can now apply to return to the US to rejoin his wife and five American children, and experts believe that he has a strong chance of succeeding, NPR reports. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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